Commerce Description Of The Game





Ninety years ago the game of Commerce was recognised as being played in

two distinct ways, the new and the old mode, so that it may justly be

termed one of the oldest round games now practised. Although it is not

so popular as some of the others treated of in this volume, it will be

found to be a good game; exciting, entertaining, and well deserving of

more extended popularity than it has lately enjoyed.



Commerce is usually played with the full pack of fifty-two cards, but if

the number of players does not exceed seven the smaller pack of thirty-two

may be used, the game being available for any number of players within the

range of the pack, say seven with the thirty-two cards, and twelve with

the fifty-two.



The cards count in the usual way, except that in reckoning the number

of pips upon them, which is sometimes necessary in the course of play,

the ace counts for eleven, and the court cards for ten each. There is no

particular suit or trumps recognised in the game, the object of the players

being to secure special combinations of the cards, technically termed

(a) Tricon, (b) Sequence, (c) Flush, (d) Pair, (e) Point, which

range in value in the order given. The holder of the best combination in

each round is the winner, and he takes the pool or whatever other

stake may have been decided upon.



The five combinations just mentioned consist of the following:--





(a) Tricon.--Three cards of the same denominations as, for example,

three aces, three fives, three knaves, etc.



(b) Sequence.--Three following cards of the same suit, as, for

instance, ace, two, three; ten, knave, queen; queen, king, ace, etc.

Although the ace may be used at either end to form a sequence, it must not

be so used between a king and a two. King, ace, two, is not, therefore,

permissible as a sequence.



(c) Flush.--Three cards of the same suit, irrespective of value.



(d) Pair.--Two cards of the same denomination, the third one being

different.



(e) Point.--The total number of pips on the three cards, ace reckoning

for eleven, and either of the court cards for ten.





In case of a tie between two or more of the players in any round,

the following rules are observed:--



(a) With Tricons, the highest wins, aces being first in this respect;

then kings, queens, etc., down to twos.



(b) With Sequences, the highest wins; the ace, king, queen sequence

reckoning as the best, and the three, two, ace sequence as the lowest.



(c) With Flushes, the one making the best "point"--as already described

--wins.



(d) With Pairs, the highest wins. If two players are alike, then the

holder of the highest third card has the preference.



(e) With Point a tie is very rare; but if equality does occur, then

the holder of the first highest card different from the opponent's wins.



The deal is an advantage, and on that account it is best, when a finish

is desired, to conclude the game just before the first dealer's turn

comes round again, as then all the players will have had an equal number

of deals. Should it be found necessary, however, to conclude before the

original dealer's turn, play may be discontinued after the completion of

any deal, although such a course is somewhat unfair to the intervening

players.



There is only one stake recognised in the game, so that it is simply

necessary to decide what shall be regarded as the value of a counter,

or what coin shall constitute the limit.



The amount of the stake having been settled, the dealer is decided upon

in the same manner as described in connection with the game of "Nap"

(see page 9). Each of the players then pays the amount of the stake

into the pool, the dealer also contributing on account of his deal,

so that he has to pay double.



The pack having been shuffled by the dealer, and cut by the player on his

right-hand side, three cards are distributed to each player, face downwards

and unexposed. The cards may be dealt either singly or all three at a

time, at the option of the dealer. The players having looked at their

cards, the dealer first addresses the one on his left-hand side, and asks

if he will trade; and he must either do so or stand on the cards dealt him.



If he decides to stand on the cards he has received, he turns his hand

face upwards on the table, and all the other players do the same, when

the holder of the best hand takes the amount in the pool, and also receives

the amount of a stake from the dealer, who is thus penalised for the

advantage that accrues to him from selling cards to those who wish to trade

for ready money, the amount he receives on that account becoming his own

property, subject to the payment mentioned. Should the player who declares

to stand be beaten by any of the others, he has to pay an additional stake

to the holders of the better hands.



If the player decides to trade, he may either do so for "ready money" or

by "barter." If for ready money, he continues operations with the dealer;

if by barter, with the next player in order round the table, who, in turn,

must exchange a card, unless he has a hand sufficiently strong to stand

upon, in which case he at once declares it.



If the player trades for ready money, he throws out a card from his hand,

pays a stake to the dealer, and receives the top card from the pack; his

rejected card being placed at the bottom of the pack without being exposed.



If the player decides to barter, he turns to the player on his left-hand

side and offers a card, which must be exchanged for one of those in the

next player's hand, unless that player considers his cards sufficiently

strong to stand upon, in which case the winner is decided by the method

just described.



If the player has traded, either for ready money or barter, and has secured

a hand strong enough, he at once stands, and exposes his cards; if not,

the dealer passes or to the next player, and acts in a similar manner,

going round and round the table until one of the players decides to stand,

when the hands are exposed and the round settled.



A player may only purchase or exchange one card at each turn; he must

not do both, but he is compelled to do the one or the other, unless he

decides to stand. When once a player agrees to stand, the commerce on

that round ceases, and all the hands must be exposed.





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